As some of y’all might remember, two weeks ago someone slammed into my (parked) car causing some pretty nasty damage and rendering my Caddy non-street legal for the 2nd time in 12 months. It was a pretty whacky story to say the least, but in a nutshell it came out of nowhere and I was scared I would finally lose my beloved car once and for all :(
I shed a few tears, met the inspector to assess the damage (luckily their insurance was legit!), and then shed some more as she told me it was certainly “totaled.” At least in the sense that it would cost more to fix than it’s worth – which is not hard to do since it’s only worth $1,500 – damage-free, haha…
I get on the phone w/ the insurance rep, and he gives me those dreaded two options I’m now so used to hearing:
- Keep the car, and receive a check for $1,100
- Give them the car, and receive a check for $1,400
The Insurance rep tells me to take the cash and move on. My mechanic tells me to take the cash and move on. And most of YOU told me it’s finally time to take the cash and move on.
So what did I do? I decided to take the cash and NOT move on ;) And here’s why:
- The car is in excellent mechanical shape
- It’s completely 100% paid off
- I feel like a baller in it
- I could care less about how it looks
- My family feels safer with having a back up car
- IT KEEPS GENERATING INCOME FOR ME!!!
My Car, the Side Hustle
Rick left a comment on my last post about the car best:
“Seriously Dude, this is now taking on the life of a “Side Hustle”.
After all was said and done last year I came away with a cool $1,100 in my pockets, and this time I’m set to walk away with approximately $950. That’s over $2,000 for not doing a thing :) And doesn’t take in account all the usage I’ve gotten out of it over the past 12 months either – something I greatly appreciate and enjoy considering I haven’t owed anything on the car since at least 2009.
To get the car drivable again, however, and to pass the state’s safety inspection to be legal, I had to figure out a way to get it fixed – and cheaper. I found out fast that $1,100 wasn’t going to do the trick.
This is how the convo went with my mechanic:
- “Good morning, Mr. Money. I’m almost done running the estimates for your car, but wanted to check in with you first before continuing. Right now we’re looking at around $3,000-$4,000 to get that whole back end fixed, and I’m not even done yet. I think it’s time to let her go.”
- “Hmmm… well that sucks – it’s a great car! Can’t you just pop out the old light and put in a new one and just hammer it around a bit? I don’t care how it looks.”
- “Unfortunately no. We pretty much have to replace the whole section as it’s too damaged to work with. And with the cars age and limited access to parts, it’ll just become a nightmare to fix.”
- “Hmm… Okay…. Oooh what about putting a DIFFERENT light in there? Like, any ol’ light you can find? Would that pass inspection and get me off the hook? How much would that cost.”
- *Awkward pause*
- “Uhh… you just want us to bolt a light back there? Like Frankenstein? I mean… I guess we could do that. It would technically pass the safety inspection, and in which case only cost you about $100 bucks. But you might want to check with the state troopers first to make sure you’re not going to get pulled over every other drive. We’d feel bad having you waste the money and time.”
- *Hangs up and calls state trooper*
- *Explains situation 3 different times, finally get an answer “As long as the light is SAE or DOT certified, and it blinks properly and located in the general vicinity of the old light, then yes sir. You will be following the law”*
- *Calls mechanic back up*
- “Let’s do this!”
Seven days and $141 later (I also slipped in an oil change), my car’s back on the road… With new fancy tail light and everything – straight off a used trailer! HAH!
It’s unfortunately not as ugly as I was hoping for :) I kinda wanted full on bolts and wires and everything, haha… But it does the trick for now. They even went ahead and cleaned out the bad light and fixed my trunk lid so it could close properly too, awwww….
(Btw, with last year’s crash my car went it without air conditioning, and magically came out WITH working air conditioning? How cool is that? (Get it? GET IT?))
And that’s the story behind Franken-Caddy. Only time will tell what’s next, but for now I’ve got my baby back with a whole lotta Benjamins in my pockets…
And that’s the real point of today’s post, though it is fun to ramble on about this nonsense. Just because someone says something costs $X, it often pays (quite literally) to suggest alternatives and *get creative*. There was no way in hell my mechanic was going to offer up this suggestion – as good as he is – so if you want things bad enough you’ve gotta conjure up some out-of-the-box thinking or settle for the “usual.” And “usual” usually sucks.
So don’t be afraid to find workarounds. Especially when everyone else is doing the same damn thing out there – it’s good to be *different!* And it’s YOUR money – no one else case as much for it as you do, so do whatever it takes to keep more of it…
If you pass my car over the weekend, be sure to give me a honk :) I don’t know where I’m going to park it going forward, but I’d be lying if I wasn’t tempted to plop it back in its usual spot in hopes of yielding more cash flow, haha… Would that make me a bad person?
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!